Moving abroad is a dream for millions of Britons. Drawn to the ideal of a more laidback lifestyle and a warmer climate, thousands of us pack up and move abroad to live the Expat dream. Amongst the most popular destinations amongst Brits abroad is Spain. It’s temperature, culture and proximity to the UK make it an ideal choice for those seeking to make the move.
Before you take the leap though, you need to think really carefully about a number of things to avoid your expat dream becoming a nightmare.
Remember that the law in Spain is far different from the law in the UK. You will therefore need to find yourself a lawyer with a good reputation and an excellent grasp of English. The Spanish are renowned for their high levels of bureaucracy so make sure that you have all your completed paperwork ready before you go to speed up the process. Check, double check and check again. Expat forums are a good resource for finding good services to help your move go as smoothly as possible.
Although there are many large Expat communities in certain areas of Spain and many of the more tourist driven areas will speak a good degree of English, it is absolutely essential that you learn the Spanish basics before you move. This will help you to integrate within the local community and to settle into Spanish life.
If you are not from an EU member state you will need to apply for a visa before moving to Spain.
Take any health concerns into consideration and think about how much they are liable to cost you. When in Spain you will need to pay for healthcare privately and therefore will need to have some sort of insurance in place.
When living in Spain permanently it is often beneficial to have a Spanish bank account. Although many UK banks offer Expat accounts, they can be tricky to contact in the event of an emergency and things like replacement cards will take considerably longer to reach you than if you are banking locally
If you are planning on taking your pets to Spain with you, you may need to apply for a pet passport. Talk to your vet for further information
Once you have somewhere to stay you will need to think about moving your stuff. There are plenty of UK based companies who specialise in removals to Spain but again, asking other Expats and people with experience is a good way of establishing which company to choose.